This bothers a lot of people and maybe it bothers you. You’ve just bought something at a store and as you reach the exit, a worker wants to check your receipt and maybe look in your bag.
Kim from Leominster hates that.
“I feel like I am being treated like a thief, and that I need to prove myself innocent before leaving the store. Is this legal?”
WBZ sent David Wade to find out.
We watched at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Costco and BJ’s as customers were asked to prove they paid for their merchandise. “They will say, ‘Excuse me, we need your receipt.’ And I’ll be like, ‘I really don’t feel comfortable about this,’ and they’ll say, ‘Well, it’s the policy,’” says Kim who thinks that policy stinks at the Wal-Mart in Lunenburg where she often shops.
“If they don’t have a reason to suspect that I stole something, they should not be allowed in my belongings,” she complains.
While this isn’t real high on the list of society’s ills, when it happens to you, it can make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. “Shoplifting is such a big problem these days, they want to have a deterrent at the door,” says Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate who runs ConsumerWorld.org.
He says it’s perfectly legal for stores to ask to see your receipt, but do you have to show them? “It all depends on what kind of store you’re in,” says Dworsky.
If you belong to a warehouse club, your membership agreement says they can check your receipts. “But it’s different in a conventional retail store. You haven’t signed any agreement agreeing to let them check your receipt,” says Dworsky.
So you don’t have to do it. But even Edgar, a guy who protects consumers, thinks we should. “Think about it. We all pay for shoplifting in higher prices, so why not be able to show the receipt. That will help cut down on possible fraud,” he says.
That’s Wal-Mart’s position, too. No one from that company would talk to WBZ on-camera, but in a statement says: “While a few of our customers may view this as a minor inconvenience, it truly is an instrumental tool in Wal-Mart’s ability to maintain low prices.”
Besides- “If someone doesn’t like it, you can just go shop somewhere else,” says Dworsky.
And at the end of a long shopping day, that’s still your choice.
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